Our ‘Influencer of the Week’ series highlights the influencers who are kicking up a storm in the online world, with their brilliant blog content, impressive social media sorcery and general awesomeness! If you would like to be featured as an ‘Influencer of the Week’ in the future, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
1. What made you start your own travel blog?
I was always interested in computers and the internet in general. When I went to East Africa in 2009 to volunteer with my girlfriend, I decided to keep an account of my experiences while we were there, so that in years to come I would have a digital footprint of the trip. After that, I just kept the blog going and over the years it’s migrated into more of an informative style blog rather than a journal/diary blog. I try to give readers a taste of what it’s like to travel the world while managing an online business.
2. What do you think makes for a great influencer?
A great influencer in my opinion is someone who goes the extra mile to bring as much information as they can to others – whether that’s through words, photos or videos. This doesn’t mean that they have to have x amount of readers on their blog, it’s all about the quality of the message that they’re trying to communicate.
3. As an influencer, what do you like about themidgame? (Check out Carlo’s Influencer Profile on themidgame here.)
I love the layout of the site coupled with the fact that it gives you stats and metrics right there on the profile page. It’s a great way to see how integrated your different social platforms are along with your monthly reach. It keeps things minimal and yet provides tons of information.
4. Do you have any tips for newbie bloggers on how to increase your reach and become a trusted influencer in your field?
The best tip is to just provide good, honest information about the places you travel to. A lot of the places that travel bloggers visit are all the same, but the difference comes in the account you portray through your own eyes on your blog and through your social channels. That’s what makes you stand out. If you try and do that, then you’ll slowly develop your own audience.
5. What has been the highlight of your blogging career so far?
It has to be reaching the 1 year mark being 100% location independent. This was my goal when I set up my travel blog in 2009. I wanted to find a way to sustain full time travel, and the hard work has paid off.
6. What is the most difficult part about blogging that many people may not realize?
Apart from the obvious problems of finding a decent internet connection, I think it would be the actual sitting down and writing side of things. While the idea of being a travel blogger is great, you’ve also got to try and come up with good articles to keep readers wanting to come back for more. I find that incorporating videos into blog posts is also a really good way to help with this problem, but then finding the time to put together and edit a video can also be a challenge.
7. What kind of opportunities have you had as a result of your blogging success?
Well my blog is certainly not as big or as popular as some other travel blogs, but it’s definitely allowed me to stay in some ridiculously cool hotels, apartments and guest houses around the world in exchange for a review or some online advertising work. Just recently we stayed in a guesthouse in Rio for 6 weeks during the World Cup in exchange for promoting the guesthouse online. That was a $7,000 saving, so it was a pretty sweet opportunity!
8. What has been the most memorable or important piece of advice you received as a (beginner) blogger?
I’ve read a lot of “advice” online from other travel bloggers, but the one thing that I’ve always remembered reading very early on was to just be yourself. Simple, yet effective. If you can’t be yourself then your blog doesn’t become a true representation of who you are or what the message you’re trying to communicate is.
9. What kind of future do you see for your travel blog?
With more travel and new countries on the horizon, we plan to keep giving readers an insight into life on the road while managing an online business. We’ve no intention of visiting every country in the world or doing anything close to it. We prefer the slower form of travel with bursts of backpacking in between. We’re also working on our first Ebook which we plan to give away to readers on our blog. Creating new and exciting travel related videos is also something that we plan to do more and more, while growing our follower base.
10. Finally, who are the bloggers that influence you?
Personally for me it’s Derek Earl Baron from Wandering Earl and Sean Ogle from Location180. Those two guys have literally given me the motivation to both get started in the travel industry and also how to go about making money on the road.
Carlo Cretaro is an Irish travel blogger with Italian roots. Since he discovered his passion for travel in 2005, he’s made travelling his priority in life. Having lived in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Thailand, Brazil and Paraguay, he’s also travelled to 30+ countries on his quest to satisfy his desire to wander. His blog NextStopWhoKnows.com provides an informative account of life on the digital road as he travels and runs multiple online businesses.